Why Brock & Salk like idea of Chip Kelly as Seahawks OC

Feb 7, 2024, 11:58 AM

Seattle Seahawks Chip Kelly OC candidate...

UCLA head coach Chip Kelly during a 2021 game against the UW Huskies in Seattle. (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

(Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Could Chip Kelly be headed back to the Pacific Northwest as Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator?

The Seahawks brought in Kelly, the current UCLA head coach, to interview Tuesday for the team’s OC opening, according to Benjamin Solak of The Ringer.

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Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk expressed support for hiring Kelly during a Wednesday morning segment.

“He would be a good fit, personality wise,” said Brock Huard, a former NFL quarterback and current FOX football analyst. “The guy has been there and done it and seen it all.”

Kelly, who earned acclaim for running a relentless uptempo offense at Oregon, has reportedly been pursuing a return to the NFL as an offensive coordinator. The 60 year old has recently lamented the state of college sports, saying football should break away from the NCAA and form its own division. UCLA is set to join the Big 10 next season alongside USC, Oregon and the UW Huskies.

“I totally understand why (Kelly) would want out of college football because a bunch of the nonsense, and he wants a level playing field,” Huard said. “You would get a hungry Chip Kelly to say ‘Hey, hold on a second. Don’t judge me by Philly and San Francisco. Let me get one more crack at this.’”

A Chip Kelly return to the pros with Seattle Seahawks?

Kelly had some success in the NFL. He spent three seasons as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles from 2013-15, winning the NFC East in his first season and going 26-21 overall. He also spent one disastrous season as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, going 2-14.

Huard’s co-host Mike Salk said Kelly’s past NFL experience, including his failures, could be a positive, in part because he’d be less likely to go after another head coaching gig if he had success as Seahawks offensive coordinator.

“As someone pointed out earlier, he would not be a threat to leave to take a head coaching job somewhere else, because he’s already tried twice and failed and probably isn’t a head coach in the NFL,” Salk said. “This seems like a phenomenal plan. I love it.”

This offseason, Kelly has reportedly interviewed with the Oakland Raiders for their open offensive coordinator job. Another report indicated he could join Dan Quinn as the offensive playcaller for the Washington Commanders.

Since returning to college football in 2018, Kelly has had modest success compared to his run at Oregon, where he went 46-7 in four seasons. Last season, the Bruins finished 8-5 despite an offense that struggled for much of the year while Kelly flipped back-and-forth between quarterbacks. Overall, Kelly is 35-34 at UCLA.

Kelly no longer runs the uptempo attack he made famous in Eugene. That offense, dubbed “the blur,” featured a variety of quarterback runs and would see offensive players race to line of the scrimmage as quickly as possible to snap the ball. Kelly has since adopted a more traditional attack, but he’s still respected for his playcalling and schemes.

“If you’re looking for somebody who can go and match wits offense for offense, scheme for scheme with the powerhouse geniuses in your division, isn’t Chip Kelly one of the people that would be on your list that have guys that can do that?” Salk said. “He would. There’s only so many in the world that are proven already.”

One possible drawback to Kelly’s candidacy? His quarterbacks get hit a lot.

“Concern No. 1 is just about every year he runs through quarterbacks,” Huard said. “Just about every year, his guys just get beat up. They just get hit within the scheme and the system. And you could say, well, is that the personnel? Personnel is pretty good at Oregon for a lot of years. He won a lot of games.

“That would be one of the things that you’d have to really dig into,” Huard added. “Because this is the most important position in the NFL, this guy’s got to stay upright, this guy’s got to stay healthy. Are there enough answers and protections?”

Outside of Kelly, new Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald has reportedly expressed interest in former UW Huskies offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, who followed Kalen DeBoer to Alabama after failing to get the UW head coach job last month. Grubb helped lead the Huskies to the national championship game with one of the country’s most potent downfield passing attacks in 2023.

The Seahawks have been reported to show interest in Tanner Engstrand, the Detroit Lions passing game coordinator, and attempted to interview New York Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka for the same role in Seattle. The Giants blocked the Seahawks’ attempt to formally speak with Kafka for the lateral move after he had two interviews for Seattle’s head coach job.

If the Seahawks do end up going with Kelly, his success could come down to simply how he handles the personalities on offense.

“How are you going to handle DK Metcalf? He’ll want his touches,” Huard said. “How are you going handle these guys? That was a challenge up there in Philadelphia with some of his big stud, big offensive guys. The college game and the NFL game are a little bit different.”

Listen to the full Brock and Salk conversation about reported Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator candidate Chip Kelly in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.

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Why Brock & Salk like idea of Chip Kelly as Seahawks OC